Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo; Florence 1503 - Florence 1572)
Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna


Oil on wood

125 x 95 cm

Palazzo Barberini

Inv: 1434

The captain Stefano IV Colonna, Lieutenant of the Medici household, distinguished himself by defending Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Here Bronzino stresses the subject’s military virtues. The burnished suit of armor, the solid and sturdy pose, the hand gestures that draw attention to the helmet and sword, and the proud, firm gaze, all give a biographical portrait of Stefano Colonna. The original frame of the painting is decorated with arms in relief, evoking the profession of the personage portrayed.

The painting was exhibited as funerary portrait in the Florentine church of San Lorenzo during his funeral ceremony in 1548. It is signed and dated on the base of the column, which encloses the space on the left and alludes to the noble lineage of Stefano IV.
A few years before painting this portrait, with its striking ability to characterize the figure and fine technical qualities, Agnolo Bronzino was appointed official portraitist to the Medici court, confirming the Florentine artist’s notable gifts in this genre.